Livingstone-Macleod MLA Dave Coutts vowed Wednesday his home town will make the Alberta Police and Peace Officers Training Centre the best in the world.
Coutts said Fort Macleod will deliver on the vision put forth by Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko.
“Fort Macleod will make sure that this will be the primary, the best, the most advanced police training college not just in Alberta, not just in western Canada, but in the entire world,”
Coutts said Wednesday. “That is his (Cenaiko) vision, and I promised him we will not let him down.”
Cenaiko, Coutts and Infrastructure and Transportation Minister announced Wednesday the $100-million training centre will be built in Fort Macleod to provide standard training for all recruits.
The drive toward a provincial police college began in 2002 in Alberta when an MLA review committee recommended establishment of a single training site for police and peace officers.
“The issues that we face in policing and the challenges that we face, you all read about in the paper and see on the news every night,” Cenaiko said during a news conference at The Fort Ñ Museum of the North West Mounted Police. “These are issues that we have to deal with.”
The Solicitor General’s department embraced in 2002 the idea of standard training for police and peace officers in Alberta, which is one of only two provinces that do not have a central training site.
“That’s where it starts,” Cenaiko said. “It starts with a training model.”
The college is expected to provide basic training each year for 350 to 400 police officer recruits.
“We have seen models in the United Kingdom, Ireland and throughout the United States and across Canada regarding training facilities,” Cenaiko said. “Our facility will be unique.” The unique aspect is that another 1,000 peace officer recruits including special constables, private investigators, security guards and corrections officers will be trained each year at the Fort Macleod centre.
“This will provide us with standardized training across the province,” Cenaiko said.
The college will also be the site of ongoing professional development for law enforcement agencies.
“It’s very exciting times,” Cenaiko said. “As I mentioned earlier, integration of policing is critical in the 21st Century as we move forward.
The college is expected to include on-site accommodations, administrative and instructor offices, classrooms, an auditorium, a library, computer labs and a cafeteria.
In addition there will be athletic and recreational space, indoor and outdoor firing ranges, driver training courses and storage areas.
Alberta’s booming economy is driving the need for more law enforcement officers. There is also the possibility the college will be opened to the military for training.
At present plans are for police services and other agencies to send their recruits to the college.
However, there may be opportunity for people to attend college on their own initiative, and then apply for jobs with the police forces of their choice.